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Doctor Who Magazine

Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special 1992

Reviewed by Jon Preddle

The single greatest asset to DWM in recent years has to be Andrew Pixley. A noted television historian, Pixley has injected into the magazine a vast storehouse of knowledge and accuracy. This special is Pixley-dominated; 30 of its 52 pages are written by him.

The problem with the specials is that they are not included in the magazine subscription, so to obtain a copy it is necessary to write to Marvel UK or wait several months in the hope that a local SF/comics specialist shop stocks it. Still, this issue is worth getting.

This special is all about the Time Lords. It seems an odd thing to publish given that John Peel's The Gallifrey Chronicles is only two years old and still fresh in peoples' minds. Although I loathe the word 'definitive' when applied to any work, in the case of this special the term definitely applies.

Instead of presenting a chronological fictional history of Gallifrey as Peel did, Pixley looks at every TV story in which the Time Lords appear or are mentioned, with particular emphasis on the new myths created by these stories. Working titles, recording dates and other trivia are also presented to make this as comp1ete a reference as possible.

Omitted are any speculations as to the origins of the Valeyard, the Doctor's past and other continuity problems - a good attitude to take, given Peel's failure in this area. Some may find Pixley's analysis somewhat heavy going, but I prefer something to be complete and accurate but dry; as opposed to short, inaccurate and easy to read!

The special also contains brief biographies of the several renegade Time Lords who have appeared, though I must admit that Peel did this slightly better!

Our own Warwick Gray has written the 7-page strip, Flashback, where the Seventh Doctor (now sporting his new cream-coloured outfit from the New Adventures), shows Bernice a video hologram of the First Doctor's confrontation with Magnus (is it the Master or the War Chief?).

Pip and Jane Baker, Terrance Dicks, Anthony Read and Johnny Byrne are all interviewed about their contributions to the Time Lord mythology. Only the Bakers' piece is said to come from a previous DWM interview, but I get the feeling that the other 'interviews' were not specially conducted for the issue either.

To round it all off, there are two superb Archives: The Invasion of Time and The Ultimate Foe - which expands in much greater detail the original Saward/Holmes ending that I covered in The Forgotten Tales (TSV 28). I think it is clear now that Pixley has got copies of the TSV Doctor Who Listener specials as he makes reference to the 8 minutes cut from the NZ transmission of episode 14!

Great stuff! (9/10)

Doctor Who Magazine 199

Reviewed by Clinton Spencer

It was indeed extremely sad to find out that Jacqueline Hill had died, as she played one of the greatest parts in early Doctor Who. It is sad then that only one page was used in this issue to sum up her great input into sixties Doctor Who. Hopefully a larger article or review will appear in a future issue.

This issue is nothing amazing. It contains articles on rebuilding Terror of the Autons (very interesting if you can understand the technical jargon), a 'Warriors of the Cheap' archive (no wonder the Myrka looked so bad!), and a look at the missing story The Prison in Space.

Generally an okay issue, but nothing to hold your breath over.

Doctor Who Magazine 200

Reviewed by Clinton Spencer

I was really disappointed with this issue. Most of these articles are bland and don't seem to have any life. It is good to see the whole issue dedicated to David Whitaker, though, as he played a huge part in making Doctor Who such a success. The alternative The Enemy of the World is quite interesting.

The free 'Giant Poster' is a bit small but has some good artwork. The comic strip looks good in colour. The best part of the issue has to be the letter from Peter Darvill-Evans. He defends Transit and The New Adventures, and makes relevant comments and provides a justification of the work he edits. About time! Hopefully this will silence the critics!

Doctor Who Magazine 201

Reviewed by Paul Scoones

First past the milestone, this issue sees a few small format changes, but I was not impressed with the new-look contents page which is rather jumbled, an impression not helped by the practice of sticking an illustration behind the text. Lost from this page is Gary Russell's editorial column, which is a pity as his comments form a personal introduction to each issue. Here's hoping that it's just a temporary omission.

The features are, unusually for DWM these days, a rather mixed bag with no clear over-riding theme. One of the more interesting pieces is a very detailed look at David Halliwell's unused story Attack from the Mind, previously examined in TSV 28 just over a year ago.

The Archive feature story is Frontier in Space which is a thorough as usual, and filled in more details surrounding the re-recording of the end of Episode Six.

Paul Cornell's Emperor of the Daleks strip, now in its penultimate instalment, seems just a little bit padded with much action and running about, but not a lot of plot advancement. I'm intrigued to see how Cornell manages to wrap up this complex tale in just eight more pages.

Other features include several interviews, including the first part of a major interview with David Maloney, but the highlight for me was the one with Ben Aaronovitch (the first half of which appears in the Summer Special), in which he critiques Battlefield, reveals details of unused scripts and advances an impassioned defense of Transit - while at the same time confirming the suspicions of many of the book's critics with the news that he was so late in finishing it that it had to be published in first draft!

The 'free gift' this issue is a set of four postcards featuring Alister Pearson's cover artwork for the script books - these should have had the 'front cover' occupying the whole card, rather than the 'wraparound' version.

Doctor Who Classic Comics 7-9

Reviewed by Paul Scoones

Classic Comics 7 features an eight-part Third Doctor story from TV Action & Countdown which is lifted above the mediocre through the inclusion of some neat time travel twists. The other strips this issue are a couple of First Doctor stories, but the definite highlight was an overview of the Fifth Doctor's 26 'episodes' of comic strip, the best of which are soon to be reprinted in Classic Comics. Oddly enough, this issue lists the Sixth Doctor's comic story titles under the Fifth Doctor's - even though the accompanying article for Colin Baker's era doesn't appear until issue 8...

...Which in turn compounds the 'problem' through listing the Seventh Doctor's stories as a preface to an article on the Sixth Doctor comics. Aside from this anomaly, issue 8 is something of a 'Trod special', in that it features three stories from TV Comic (two with the First Doctor and one with the Second), all featuring the comic strip monsters the Trods in conflict - or in one case alliance - with the Doctor. In spite of their comically absurd appearance, the Trods were clearly popular, judging by their numerous TV Comic appearances.

Classic Comics 9 is for the most part taken up with a complete reprinting of a very, very rare comic adaptation of the Peter Cushing Dr Who and the Daleks film, which was of particular interest to me as I had just recently witnessed a copy of the original comic sell in an auction for a large sum of money. Also featured this issue is the final Fourth Doctor strip from Doctor Who Monthly, The Neutron Knights, which is unexceptional on its own, but serves as a prologue to the highly-rated epic The Tides of Time, to be reprinted next issue. I can't wait!

Doctor Who Magazine Summer Special 1993

Reviewed by Paul Scoones

It's rapidly becoming a regular event in this column, but once again there is just cause to sing the praises of Mr Andrew Pixley, a man whose scholarship and attention to detail is impressive to say the least. This DWM special is again largely the result of Pixley's dedicated research - he supplied the majority of the issue's contents.

The Dalek phenomenon cannot even begin to be given justice in a magazine of this size (52 pages). The subject is crying out for a book of at least the scope and depth of David Banks' Cybermen but Pixley makes the most of his assigned word-count, presenting a richly detailed history of the Dalek stories, including information on developments both on and off screen. Accompanying this article are a series of short pieces by assistant editor Marcus Hearn, looking at the reaction of the press to the Daleks over the years.

As seems to now be the standard for a DWM Special, there are two Pixley Archive features; The Chase and Remembrance of the Daleks - the choice was dictated by the fact that they are due to be released together by BBC Video later this year. The amount of detail that Pixley has managed to dredge up on the latter story is simply staggering. A great deal has been written about the writing and production of Remembrance in the past, but he has still managed to include fresh material.

Pixley was undoubtedly assisted by Marcus Hearn's interview with Remembrance writer Ben Aaronovitch, published this issue. This interview is actually only the first half - the second, covering Aaronvitch's non-Dalek writing, appears in DWM 201.

The issue also features a Dalek comic strip story, Bringer of Darkness, written by TSV's former cover artist Warwick Gray. The story sees Troughton's Doctor, Jamie and Victoria encountering a trio of Daleks. The Doctor comes across as a much darker, more mysterious figure than most people's perceptions of the Second Doctor - it's almost as if Warwick actually wanted to write for McCoy! Unfortunately the strip was marred a little by a rather obvious spelling error.

All in all, a very impressive issue, wrapped up in an eye-catching cover by Colin Howard (also issued as the 'free poster'). If you thought you knew all there was to know about Daleks, this issue will surprise you. Don't miss it!

This item appeared in TSV 34 (July 1993).